Why I’m guilty as charged

I was rudely awoken this morning by much screeching from downstairs in the kitchen. It quickly became apparent that I had done something terrible last night to my 11-year-old daughter who, having just started secondary school, has recently taken possession of her first phone. So what was the heinous crime I had committed? Well, it seems I had unplugged her phone from the phone charger and plugged in my own instead. The result was that she was leaving for school with her phone only (gasp!) FORTY PER CENT charged!!

Now this rather dramatic start to the day got me thinking. We’re all pretty obsessed with that little battery sign on our smart phone aren’t we? Running low is disastrous. Running out – unthinkable! And all of this so that we can check our inbox and social media feeds every six minutes or so.

Yes, going out with a fully charged phone is a non-negotiable for most of us – and we’ll go to great lengths to make sure that’s the case.

But how many of us leave the house in the morning with our own battery languishing on, say, 30%? Or 15%? Or 5%?  I would wager that this is what many of us are doing, day in day out. Every time we fuel up on a bowl of cereal, a slice of toast, a muffin or a latte, we are effectively launching into our day on the worst possible battery input. We are loading up on something which our body converts instantly to sugar, giving us a nice little high – and then a precipitous drop that leaves us shaking, foggy of brain, grouchy of temper and gasping for our next carb fix. It’s a devastatingly effective way to run down your battery and leave you wide open to burnout and, in the longer term, chronic disease.

If you wouldn’t dream of leaving for the office, school or uni with a low phone battery, why would you accept to habitually turning up with no juice in your own battery to tackle a day’s tasks?

Rather than obsessing about the state of our iPhone, how about we obsess a bit more about the state of ourselves? How much energy is leaching out of us – and how much energy are we putting back in? The ‘inputs’ that go into our body all have an effect – whether that be the food and drink we consume; the quality and length of our sleep; the air we breathe; the people we hang out with and how they make us feel; the movement we do; and the stress we take on.

I hope you’ll pardon me the pun…but the only person who can take charge of your own battery charge is you. While I can happily charge up your iPhone for you, it’s only you who can decide what inputs you plug into your body and what you fill up on. Please do not make the mistake of letting yourself run flat before you decide to invest any time or energy in your wellbeing. Being out of phone battery may be inconvenient, but the consequences of you running around on fumes are far, far worse.  We’re not just talking only about a short-term knock to your cognitive function, energy and mood – but adverse effects to your long-term health.

So, next time you check your phone’s battery before running out the door, take a moment and stop to consider your own battery. Close your eyes, ask yourself what charge you’re currently on and see what number floats to the front of your consciousness. If it’s lower than you’d like, then ask yourself what inputs you need to ramp up. Do you need to sit down and eat a proper, nutrition-packed, filling breakfast – including super-fuel, healthy fat-laden foods like eggs and avocado? Do you need to get to bed earlier? Do you need to pause and take a few deep breaths? Or get your tensed body moving? Whatever it is that your internal gauge is showing, you need to wise up and pay attention. Because your body malfunctioning is a whole lot more serious than your phone playing up.

Smart phones are clever, useful gadgets. No mistake. But we fool ourselves if we focus our attention on feeding that little screen battery – and forget to feed ourselves. Here’s to a fully charged battery for you and your family. Now, how much smarter is that?

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